In this time of uncertainty, a time for which there are few explanations, let alone words to help us explain, please take a moment to see it from a child’s eyes. If you have no words for your anxieties, your frustrations, your isolation, your fear… your child has fewer. Color me SAFE, is a program that works to empower and educate families and communities, wants to take a moment and ask all those stressed out in this current crisis to take a moment and consider the children. They too are concerned and have fewer experiences and resources to help them cope with this anxiety. The primary resource at their disposal, their schools, have been taken from them seemingly overnight. They don’t know when they will see their friends or teachers again. The birthday parties they looked forward to are being canceled, their piano lessons are now online, their parents are home all day with them and school is difficult to adjust to online, especially when they are very young. They don’t understand about the layoff. They don’t understand the anxiety of paying the bills. They shouldn’t. They’re children. Conversely, the jobs that were lost in this crisis, the bills that keep coming, the anxiety of being sick, getting sick, caring for the sick, caring for the recovering, caring for those that are “at risk”. THEY ARE REAL!
We at Color me SAFE ask the adults to:
- Take care of yourselves! If you are not reaching out for support in whatever way is safe, the fear and anxiety will become crippling.
- Take a break! Being caregivers, nurses, teachers, parents, house keepers, coaches, referees, chefs, etc. is more than any one person can handle.
- Reach out! Though we are all socially isolated, we are not alone. Even in the moments when there seems to be no one there, remember that there is another person, likely nearby, struggling with similar anxieties. There are also people out there willing, wanting and waiting to help. Reach out and there will be someone to grab your hand.
- Remember, children are NOT to blame. No one is! The children may have asked one too many times to watch Tom and Jerry and you just want to turn off the TV. They’re not trying to jump on your last nerve… they’re trying to cope.
- Walk away. That fifth request for a cookie can go ignored. The toddler throwing a fit on the floor, will fall asleep. The kid in their room yelling, “you’re not fair” will say “I love you” before bed. It’s better to walk away and “reboot” than to pay the consequences of acting in your frustration and anger.
- BE AWARE! Know that children that are not going to school ARE staying at home. Some of them are staying at home with individuals with little to no coping skills and/or support system. Those children are at higher risk of harm. Those children had the safe haven of school and other caring adults to check in with them, until COVID-19. They need YOU, the neighbor, the aunt, the mail carrier, the baby sitter, the cousin, the friend, the parent of their friend, to be their support now!
As a community we are currently trying to keep ourselves safe from an unknown, unseen, unheard, unexpected danger….. just know this fear is doubled for children in violent homes.
If you need someone to reach out to:
Texas Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-252-5400
National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-(800) 799-7233
RAINN (Rape, Assault, Incest National Network): 1-800-656-HOPE
Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990
Veteran’s Crisis Line:1(800) 273-8255
Youth Line: 1(877) 968-8491
Text TEEN2TEEN to 839863
Not in a crisis but just want someone to talk to try a “Warmline” vs: a “Hotline” at www.warmline.org